Nuclear Receptor Research


Nuclear Receptors in Drug Metabolism, Drug Response and Drug Interactions

Author(s): Chandra Prakash1,2, Baltazar Zuniga1,3, Chung Seog Song1, Shoulei Jiang1, Jodie Cropper1, Sulgi Park1, and Bandana Chatterjee1,4

Orally delivered small-molecule therapeutics are metabolized in the liver and intestine by phase I and phase II drug-metabolizing enzymes (DMEs), and transport proteins coordinate drug influx (phase 0) and drug/drug-metabolite efflux (phase III). Genes involved in drug metabolism and disposition are induced by xenobiotic-activated nuclear receptors (NRs), i.e. PXR (pregnane X receptor) and CAR (constitutive androstane receptor), and by the 1α, 25-dihydroxy vitamin D3-activated vitamin D receptor (VDR), due to transactivation of xenobiotic-response elements (XREs) present in phase 0-III genes. Additional NRs, like HNF4-α, FXR, LXR-α play important roles in drug metabolism in certain settings, such as in relation to cholesterol and bile acid metabolism. The phase I enzymes CYP3A4/A5, CYP2D6, CYP2B6, CYP2C9, CYP2C19, CYP1A2, CYP2C8, CYP2A6, CYP2J2, and CYP2E1 metabolize >90% of all prescription drugs, and phase II conjugation of hydrophilic functional groups (with/without phase I modification) facilitates drug clearance. The conjugation step is mediated by broad-specificity transferases like UGTs, SULTs, GSTs. This review delves into our current understanding of PXR/CAR/VDR-mediated regulation of DME and transporter expression, as well as effects of single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP) and epigenome (specified by promoter methylation, histone modification, microRNAs, long non coding RNAs) on the expression of PXR/CAR/VDR and phase 0-III mediators, and their impacts on variable drug response. Therapeutic agents that target epigenetic regulation and the molecular basis and consequences (overdosing, underdosing, or beneficial outcome) of drug-drug/drug-food/drug-herb interactions are also discussed. Precision medicine requires understanding of a drug's impact on DME and transporter activity and their NR-regulated expression in order to achieve optimal drug efficacy without adverse drug reactions. In future drug screening, new tools such as humanized mouse models and microfluidic organs-on-chips, which mimic the physiology of a multicellular environment, will likely replace the current cell-based workflow.